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No Man’s Sky guide: Freighters

Freighters and frigates

Hello Games via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

No Man’s Sky is very nearly a different game from when it launched. With the Next update, you might be jumping back in after a couple years away. We got you (re)started with our rebeginner’s guide and walked you through one of the big changes with our base building guide. Below, we’ll talk about the other major addition since the game’s launch: freighters.

Your first freighter

You’ll get your first freighter for free relatively early in the game. When you jump into a system, watch for a distress call from a freighter under attack by pirates. Save the freighter by destroying the pretty weak attackers, and the freighter’s captain will invite you on board and offer you the command for free.

Getting to know your freighter

There’s really only two important parts to your freighter when you first get it: the hangar bay and the bridge. The hangar bay is just what it sounds like — it’s where you park your ship. Sometimes, NPC ships will show up and you can trade or make offers on their ships just like you would on a Space Station.

A freighter’s bridge.
Hello Games via Polygon

Up the stairs at the front of the hangar bay, you’ll find a hallway that leads up to the bridge. The bridge is where you talk to the captain (who never really has anything to say) and do everything else. The holographic display in the middle has four stations to interact with.

  • Galactic Commission Station. You’ll find a Mission Board here very similar to the one on Space Stations. You can pick up side missions for rewards.
  • Freighter Warp Map. The next station to the right is the Warp Map. It works just like the map in your ship. Your freighter has a Warp Drive just like your ship does — and you have to fuel and upgrade it just like you do with your ship.
  • Manage Fleet. The station at the front of the display allows you to examine your fleet’s frigates. Frigates are the ships that you can send out on expeditions (more on this below).
  • Plan and Dispatch Expeditions. You’ve probably seen this mechanic in other games. At this station, you choose an expedition to send your NPC frigates out on. They have a chance of success (or, pessimistically, a chance of failure), but their goal is to go out to earn you money and bring back exciting loot. This is, arguably, the main point of getting yourself a freighter and a fleet. To send out your first expedition, though, you’ll need to build a Fleet Command Station, which brings us to …

Fleet Command Station and freighter-based base building

The Fleet Command Station.
Hello Games via Polygon

After the double doors and the stairs in the hallway from the hangar bay, you’re in an area of your freighter that is available for base building in a very similar way to planetary bases. Your first exposure to this will be building the Fleet Command Station. This is required to send frigates out on expeditions, and it’s where you’ll debrief them when they return (so you can collect your rewards).

You can build just about anything you can build in a base on your freighter.
Hello Games via Polygon

Beyond the Fleet Command Station, most of what you have available to build on a planet is available to build on your ship. Once you unlock them by doing the base building side misisons, you can build things like a GalacticzTrade Hub, a Large Refiner, Specialist Terminals, and even Hydroponic Trays. You can even (and maybe should?) go through your freighter when you first claim it to destroy the rooms that already exist. This will let you rearrange the layout as you see fit (and will give you a ton of silver and tritium).

Recruiting freighters and frigates

A fleet of recruitable frigates.
Hello Games via Polygon

When you’re flying past a fleet of large ships, watch for their icons to appear — this means they’re available for purchase and recruitment.

Frigates will have a green icon. As you fly close, you’ll get a call on your radio offering the ship for inspection. Check it out and either add them to your fleet or move on. As you add more and more frigates, your success rate on expeditions will increase (because you can send multiple ships on the same expedition) and you’ll be able to take on multiple expeditions at once.

Freighters have a purple icon, and you’ll have to land to inspect it. Head inside and up to the bridge to talk to the captain. You’ll be able to inspect the freighter there and find out the price (it’s going to be tens of millions of credits).

Other uses for a freighter

Having a freighter is mainly about the hands-off expeditions, but once you have a plenty of base building options (after you finish all of the base building side missions), freighters become a lot more interesting.

  • They’ve got huge inventories. Each slot can hold 1,000 units, so they’re great for holding onto your stuff. You can teleport items from any of your inventories to the freighter at any time, but you can only retrieve them when you’re onboard.
  • You can call them in anywhere. You can summon them with your menu just like you summon your ship or your exocraft. That means you’ve got an (almost) instantly traveling base and storage facility. When you put hydroponic trays on your freighter, you’ve got a traveling source of revenue, too.
  • One warp drive for all of your ships. Once you get your freighter’s warp drive upgraded and fueled, you’ve not only got a mobile base, but you’ve also only got a single warp drive to worry about equipping each ship individually. This will free up a few inventory slots on some of your specialized ships.

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